Lee Kang-So (b. 1943) is one of Korea’s most representative experimental artists spanning from the 1970s to the present. He is firmly established in the history of Korean contemporary art having founded and participated in influential artist groups and events in the 1970s. Like most artists of his age, his youth was spent during difficult times under a rebuilding authoritarian government and his work is about empowering the individual and centered on more philosophical concerns.
Kang-So is a proponent of the Korean philosophy of “pungryu” which roughly translates into the traditional notion of harmony of the phenomena of things in the universe. It’s an intuition the penetrates truth and merges the heavens, nature and the self - a belief in the co-existence of things within the structural flow of nature. The artist’s oeuvre of works is influenced by these philosophical underpinnings as an alternative to our habitual world view that has become analytical and rational over the past several hundred years.
This liberal intuition is more about faith in the audience’s ability to find comfort if they expand and trust their intuition free from the more “Western” notions of concepts and structure that may be more constricting. He seeks to make his works not one-sided transmissions of his ideas but to be a vehicle for viewers to have enhanced experience where they participate and engage with the work causing “modest yet ceaseless change in the universe.” In this way, he wishes for all of his works to form a structure where some “pure” energy in himself and that of the onlooker can mutually interact.
Lee graduated from the Painting Department of Seoul National University (1965). He participated in the MoMA PS1 Studio Artists Program from 1991-1992. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at institutions such as the Musee d’art modern et contemporain de Saint-Etieene Metropole, Daegu Art Museum, Art Sonje, MMCA, Leeum, Tate Modern, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, LACMA, MOMAT Tokyo and the National Gallery Singapore.